By Ann Feister
San Diego Gay and Lesbian News
SAN DIEGO -- Are you a Cho Ho? If you know what that means, then you’re already ahead of the curve.
Margaret Cho is coming back to San Diego this weekend, to celebrate Pride with her community full of fans.
She will be riding in the parade on Saturday, July 16, and according to her website, she is looking for 30 lucky "Cho Hos" to march in the parade, right along with her.
Later that same evening, you can catch Cho again, front and center at the Pride Festival'sMain Stage at 8:15 pm, where she will be performing her brand of outrageously funny and outspoken comedy.
Selene Luna, a long-time friend of Cho and a pint-sized powerhouse of comedy herself, will be riding side-saddle to Cho in the parade and is also featured as her opening act that evening, beginning at 8 pm.
Cho is quite beloved in the LGBT community, not only because she’s hilarious, but because as an admitted bisexual, she has taken firm stances on issues that are important to both herself and the LGBT community as a whole.
She's been a voice for the community in the mainstream media on many high-profile topics, including; Proposition 8, the “It Gets Better” Campaign, fighting anti-gay politics and addressing homophobia in Hollywood. She has also been a very vocal advocate for women, Asians and against weight discrimination.
When it comes to her career, Cho is something of a renaissance woman in the sense that she has dabbled in a bit of everything at this point.
Her most recent comedy album, “Cho Dependent,” was nominated for a Grammy in February, the second nomination for the funny lady.
With a heavy infusion of music, “Cho Dependent” was a bit of a departure from her previous comedy albums, and she even learned to play the guitar, banjo and the dulcimer for the record.
In addition to her stand-up career and all that activism, Cho is also an accomplished television and film actress, currently starring in the Lifetime hit, “Drop Dead Diva,” which is in its third season.
She also competed on ABC’s monster success, “Dancing with the Stars” last season and has countless other accomplishments to round out her resume.
Q & A with the Drop Dead Diva
Cho recently took time out of her busy schedule while filming “Drop Dead Diva” in Atlanta to answer some questions forSan Diego Gay & Lesbian News (SDGLN).
SDGLN: You’ve been a fixture at Pride events all over the country for years now, what’s your favorite part of being involved in the celebrations?
Margaret Cho (MC): To me, pride season is like Christmas or New Year's. It's a holiday. A time to reflect on how far we have come. Where we are going. What we have been through. My favorite is always the "dykes on bikes." Makes me cry!
SDGLN: The "Cho Ho's" thing is a great idea. Are there any openings left for “Cho Ho’s” to walk with you and Selene in the parade?
MC: Absolutely!!!!!!! Come on down! Just tweet me!!!!!
SDGLN: You’re starring in “Drop Dead Diva,” and have had the chance to work with some amazing guest stars on the show. Which actor/actress has been your favorite guest star to work with on “DDD,” so far and why?
MC: Kathy Griffin! She's the best. She came on to play Kim's sister and she's hilarious! We have a big bitch fight. I love her sooooo much! She's a good friend, a mentor, a fellow activist -- truly a star.
SDGLN: For your newest comedy album, “Cho Dependent,” you learned how to play three instruments, do you have plans to continue singing or possibly pick up another musical instrument in the future?
MC: Yes I'm making a new album and adding Keytar, which is surprisingly hard to play!
SDGLN: You collaborated with some phenomenal musicians on your latest album, Fiona Apple, Tegan and Sara, Ben Lee and Ani DiFranco, just to name a few. Who would be your ideal musical partner if you could choose anyone, living or dead?
MC: I would love to have worked with Elliott Smith and Jeff Buckley, guys I had seen around at shows for a long time. I was a crazy fan of both but never had the nerve to approach [them]. Also, Judee Sill.
SDGLN: A great deal of your comedy has to do with your family and your upbringing. What was it like to record a song with your parents?
MC: It was incredible! They're both very musical. My mother Is a fantastic singer and she's where I get my voice from. The song is really touching and beautiful. It's about growing up and coming out and your parents feelings about it. I'm so proud of them and the song.
SDGLN: How hopeful are you that the rest of the country will soon follow New York’s landmark legislation legalizing gay marriage?
MC: It's going to happen. What happens in new York happens everywhere.
SDGLN: You were on “Dancing with the Stars,” with Bristol Palin, did you get to meet and chat with Sarah during her visits at all?
MC: It was so weird! Sarah was waving real wildly at me and Louis van Amstel, and I was real scared because I've made some incredibly crass jokes about her!
SDGLN: You recently narrated the movie “Exotic World and the Burlesque Revival,” about the Exotic World Museum, which is located on a goat farm in the middle of the Mojave Desert and run by a former striptease dancer. How did you get involved with this project?
MC: I'm a burlesque dancer and i love the art form and the women who do it now and back then. They are family!
SDGLN: You and Selene Luna have worked on a lot of projects together over the years, how did you two meet and form such a strong bond?
MC: We met at a party at my house and she's been cracking me up for a decade. She makes me laugh harder than anyone and I'm lucky to have her as such a close, dear friend.
SDGLN: You’re very open about your personal life on stage. Is performing somewhat cathartic for you, or is it still nerve-wracking to get up on stage and open up about yourself to a crowd?
MC: It's a bit of both, because it's so great to uncover truth, but also difficult to do. I love my work as a stand-up though. It's who I am and who I will always be - filthy real.
SDGLN: What do you do in your down time ?
MC: Trying to learn new songs on the Internet, 90s style kickboxing, restorative yoga with bolsters and shit, seriously.
SDGLN: What exciting things might we expect in the future from you?
MC: I'm going to Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival and then to Australia for a big tour. Also writing my new album!
You can follow Margaret's daily antics on Facebook and also on Twitter. She is a very active social media maven and is looking forward to her San Diego Cho Hos tweeting her to join in the parade on Saturday!
Morgan M. Hurley, Assistant Editor for SDGLN, also contributed to this article.
Photo above, left: Cho Hos at LA Pride, June 2011.